I read Emily's blog post earlier in which she was wondering if her family should get a dog...she's not a dog person...and boy, can I relate.
You see, I am not a dog person. Or I wasn't. I grew up with a very sweet yellow lab-mix named Buffy (named after that cute girl on "Family Affair"--honk if you are over 40 and remember Buffy and Jody!) We couldn't have asked for a nicer dog. I liked her. I guess. Not as much when she got old and smelly and couldn't back up, but overall I liked her.
But I have never really wanted another dog. Which worked for my hubby, since he is allergic to most dogs and cats. So we were resigned to no dog. We had a litter-box trained bunny for a while when we were first married, but we were over the pet thing.
Enter two normal American kids who we love and who want a pet. You know the scenario--made worse by the annual kindergarten trip to the humane society. So... we got a parakeet from a breeder, so we could tame it. I grew up with two parakeets--they were lots of fun. Keets sat on our hands and shoulders and sang us songs and kept us entertained. She even sang along with Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music! She was Pickle's bird. She wanted it. Until she learned that she got uncomfortable when it flew around. And when I say uncomfortable...I mean she had panic attacks. Oops, not the right pet. Keets lived the rest of her feathered life locked in her cage until she finally gave up the fight. It was sad.
Keets sitting my glass of water
Since Keets wasn't cuddly, next came the guinea pig. A Christmas present for pickle and a huge hit. Pickle named her nutmeg and she was pretty cute, especially when she wasn't peeing on you. It was a great kid's pet--until hubby realized he was allergic to little Nutmeg after all. (Ironically, pickle just developed an allergy to nutmeg--the spice. Weird, huh?) Once the allergy was discovered and confirmed, we gave nutmeg away to a friend...who lovingly cared for her until she had a little guinea pig stroke. (really!)
So, we were resigned to being petless and pretty cool with it (at least hubby and I). And then something weird happened that we now know must be directly related to some serious praying on the part of our kids. Hubby and I each independently started to want a dog. We didn't even admit it to each other at first. We had talked about the one or two breeds he could have that we'd be interested in. Hypothetically. That's it though. But as our feelings started to change, I started admiring and talking about all of the different dogs I "met" in people's homes as I worked my home party business. And we started wandering through the pet shop in the mall(you know, for the kids).
We came to the hypothetical conclusion that if we were to find an adult, purebred, mini schnauzer (we knew hubby did ok with that breed), already potty-trained, preferably female, for free and dropped at our doorstep, we might consider it. Even better if it's ears were natural and not cropped. The little desire started to grow into a mild obsession. I secretly checked the humane society listings to see if they had a schnauzer. (where else would we find an adult purebred, I thought?) kind of compulsively, I must admit. Apparently hubby did too. We even started looking out of state--willing to drive a few states over if we found the right dog.
Yes, I know, hello?? We don't want a dog, remember?
All of it came to naught. Schnauzer rescues...nothing. Craigslist...nothing. I started adding my prayers to those of our kids. It seemed impossible, but nothing is impossible with God. And if He thought a dog was a good idea for us, He could find one. By now we really wanted one! (darn kid prayers!) We kept looking and couldn't let the thought go. One day, I was on the phone admitting to my mother-in-law that we were starting to really want a dog--and another caller beeped in. One of my customers. I switched over to the call and had this conversation:
"dawn, I hope you don't think this is weird, but one of my friends who was at my home party (months prior) said she thought she heard you say you liked mini schnauzers?"
"well, this is just a long shot, but she is moving in a few days, and has decided not to take her dog. he is a mini schnauzer, and she wants to know if you want him."
Yup, you guessed it. He was ours the next day. He was three years old, trained, sweet, and even had natural ears. He isn't female, but doesn't do any of those "male dog things that are unpleasant". His owner had him groomed and then gave us the dog along with all of his food, kennel, leash, vet records, toys and treats to us for FREE. He took to me right away...follows me around, up and down the stairs 100 times a day. He sits outside the bathroom when I'm in there (to protect my privacy, I think). Patch has become a sweet little friend. He's easy and might I add, doesn't shed at all (LOVE that!) And it's nice when the kids aren't home to have a little life around the house.
And most importantly, he is a daily reminder of God's love. Because He didn't have to answer our prayers for a dog...we certainly didn't NEED one. But sometimes God does things just to say "I love you". I mean, really, having Patch show up in our lives is nothing short of a miracle. A God-thing, for sure.
Sure, he needs regular grooming. Sure, he barks sometimes at people he knows. Sure, he's a bit of a mooch when it comes to snuggling and petting and scratching behind the ears. Sure, he finds the person who likes him least in the room and tries to win them over by putting his chin in their lap. Sure, he had to have a tooth pulled in front and now looks like some rare appalachian breed of schnauzer. But he has brought much joy, therapy (petting a dog is stress relieving!), and companionship into our home.
And I think...I might...have been...converted to a dog person. I guess it just takes the right dog. And a miracle. And miracles happen. Watch out Emily. :)